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Bennachie from Insch

Following the success of our first photography competition in 2023, we decided to do it again for 2024. The quality of photographs received was uniformly high, making decisions difficult. Twelve winners have been chosen and, in addition to receiving a modest gift, are featured on our website homepage.

Bennachie from Insch

This month’s lovely photo captures a familiar sight out and about in Aberdeenshire, and was taken by Diana Thomson.

Taken at the back of Bennachie, near Insch, this month’s picture shows rural Aberdeenshire at its best. Everywhere is in full bloom. This is high summer. The sheep look in great condition, enjoying the summer pasture, and Bennachie looks grand in its summer splendour. 

Bennachie is instantly recognisable, with its distinctive shape, beloved by folk in the North East. It is something of an outlier in the coastal plain, distinct, and slightly apart from the hills and mountains, inland.

I, for one, find my eyes seeking out Bennachie, when I travel in the shire, and I always feel a sense of “home” when I see it. The thought that, in Pictish times it was a fort, that our ancestors lived and died there, creates a link with those distant forbears and adds a deep sense of continuity.

The modern version of those distant forbears might best be found among the farmers, a hardworking, stoic group, as befits those who strive to produce the food we eat, in the challenging North East climate.

Farming is an integral part of the community in Aberdeenshire. We depend on farmers so much, but take them for granted it seems. Agriculture has always been a vital part of the “business” in our area. We have a great variety of farms in our area, from hill farms to large mechanised and modern units, both arable and stock rearing.

One of the great traditions of farming in the North East is bothy ballads, and the heading to this post is taken from a ballad “Where the Gadie Rins”, one of the ballads celebrating the beautiful countryside. Some among us may remember Grampian TV (remember them?) running a series or two of Bothy Nichts, back in the 1960s. If you do remember, felicitations on a grand old age and a memory that still works.

Diane’s photograph captures the back of Bennachie, and the surrounding farmland in beautiful harmony.

Times change, things move on, but Bennachie stands fast, a symbol of the dogged determination of North East folk.

If you’re interested in learning more about each one of our images as part of our photography competition, then why not take a look at one of our previous submissions, here.


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